Hosea 2:19 – And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.
The book of Hosea can be uncomfortable reading because it uses terms and imagery that we would rather not think about. Those terms paint a distressing picture of the relationship between the LORD and his people, between a husband and his bride. The joining of man and woman was consecrated by God from the beginning – “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen2:24). This is a sacred union, sanctified by the Father, so to betray that union is to betray the very fabric of God’s holiness.
Israel betrayed their covenant relationship with God; the bride forsook her husband in pursuit of finding pleasure elsewhere. Israel pursued other nations and had great influence which resulted in material benefit. The need for power became an uncontrollable desire and Jeroboam led the people further away by building two temples, one in Dan and one in Bethal, in which he placed golden calves – “Then this thing became a sin, for the people went as far as Dan to be before one” (1Kings12). The people worshipped the idols and believed that their good fortune came from them. The Lord said of Israel:
“And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal” (Hos2:8).
The people had been unfaithful to the Lord God; they sacrificed to the golden calf and celebrated with their own festivals. The Lord would not let this behaviour continue – “I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths and all her appointed feasts.” God’s actions came from a place of immense love for his people. He would put an end to the unfaithfulness in order to draw Israel back to her first love and to betroth her to himself forever – “I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.”
It pains the Lord when we are unfaithful to him and it breaks his heart when we look to other things for fulfilment. Nothing will ever satisfy the soul as fully as the Lord and yet we still follow the desires of the flesh. Longing for contentment through what the world offers will leave us ever searching but never finding.
The magnitude of God’s love for his people will never be found in anything else and his union with us is holy and unstained. Remain faithful and you will find completeness in Him.